by Ryan Meehan
Week Ten brings the start of these Thursday games on NFL network that are totally unnecessary. In fact, I can’t think of any football player that believes in forward momentum so much that he would prefer to play on only four days rest. But I suppose any NFL happenings are a good thing considering this horrifying scandal that’s coming out of Penn State at the moment. I’ll address this in another column but for now let’s keep the discussion at the pro level. The New England Patriots have finally released DL Albert Haynesworth and the Washington Redskins have finally parted ways with WR Donte Stallworth. Neither should be a shock to anybody, what with Haynesworth being ineffective and out of shape for a few years now, and Stallworth carrying the extra baggage of that pesky manslaughter charge back in 2009. Considering that both of these things are simply news items and will not have an effect on the rest of the season, here are the picks for week ten.
Oakland (4-4) at San Diego (4-4)
Here is previously mentioned Thursday night game. Somebody has to win and take charge of this division. Don’t get me wrong it’s incredibly unfortunate that someone has to due to the current playoff structure, but it’s true. Philip Rivers went out of his way in the Packers postgame press conference to mention that he wasn’t hurt and I wondered why he did that. If you aren’t hurt, you aren’t hurt, but don’t come out and say that the shoulder feels great because then it just looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. In his defense, I can’t write this paragraph without bringing up just how much the San Diego defense has changed in the last five years: It all started with the Shawne Merriman HGH suspension, then they lost Antonio Cromartie to the Jets, and ever since it’s been just downright depressing. the only legit guy they have back there is Quentin Jammer and he lets his over-inflated opinion of himself get in the way of almost everything he does. (Barring of course penalties) The Raiders are a trainwreck on fire before it even hit the ground…my oh my how their season has changed since Jason Campbell got injured. Carson Palmer has six interceptions the past two weeks (well, technically one and a half weeks) but you can’t throw Terrell Pryor in there yet because he’ll die in the pocket. Gotta go with the lesser of two evils here, even though the short week favors neither team.
Chargers 32, Raiders 13
New Orleans (6-3) at Atlanta (5-3)
This should be a good one. Don’t expect it to end 9-6 like the Alabama-LSU game did last Saturday. Both of these teams are coming off recent hearty beatings of the Indianapolis Colts, but check out this stat: The Atlanta Falcons have forced a turnover in the last 27 straight games, the longest streak amongst any NFL team. This could prove to be very key against a team like the Saints, who make Drew Brees throw the ball a lot. The Saints are up and down, they’re up at the moment due to the victory over Tampa. Therefore I like them to be down again this week, and even though it pains me to say it, they’re due for a major injury here any day now and this might be the week that happens. Also watch for rookie Julio Jones to have another big Sunday against a vulnerable Saints defense.
Falcons 34, Saints 24
Detroit (6-2) at Chicago (5-3)
It was hard to not be impressed by the Bears’ road win on Monday night at the Linc. In a move very uncharacteristic of his usual play, running back Matt Forte fumbled twice, losing both. However, I don’t believe this is going to be a long term type issue with a simple motion. (e.g. Tiki Barber fumbling or Chuck Knoblauch not being able to find out where the hell first base is) I still think the Lions are a farce and this is the beginning of a set of games in which we’ll find out if that’s actually the case. Back to the Bears, several crucial tackles and batted balls late in this one lead me to believe that they mean business. I don’t know if they’re Super Bowl bound, but they are a better team at home than the Lions are on the road, so I’m taking them by just a field goal.
Bears 21, Lions 18
Pittsburgh (6-2) at Cincinnati (6-2)
I’m saying the Steelers show up pissed and the Bengals get exposed. Getting your heart ripped out of your chest at home like that stings something fierce, and the Bengals aren’t used to playing a team that’s that mad. And it appears that the Hines Ward injury is relatively minor and he will be ready to go here. This will be rookie Andy Dalton’s first taste of Steeler defense, so I hope the Bengals have plenty of diapers on hand. Eighteen points sounds about right.
Steelers 35, Bengals 17
St. Louis (1-7) at Cleveland (3-5)
The Browns have won three games? Against who? I demand a fucking recount. Were they in some kind of field goal kicking contests that I didn’t see? If I were to break this one down I’d probably find out that you could look for a big day on the ground for Stephen Jackson, but why even do that? That’s not fair to me or anybody else that might be reading this.
Rams 14, Browns 3
Buffalo (5-3) at Dallas (4-4)
Still not sure if Buffalo is all that and a bag of chips, but they are better than Dallas. They’ll need more than eleven points to win this one, and that should be doable against Dallas, who looks average or slightly above on paper (10th against the league in rushing and 16th against the league in passing) yet has become notorious for giving up the big play on third down in a crucial situation. And Fitzpatrick needs to make one of those big plays in order to get his stroke back. I’m puzzled that I don’t have more to say about this…Miles Austin will be out with an injury but I didn’t see him being much of a factor against that Bills secondary in this one anyway.
Bills 22, Cowboys 20
Battle of Ineptitude: Jacksonville (2-6) at Indianapolis (0-9)
In the words of the immortal Carl Brutananadilewski: “You have got to be frickin’ kidding me…” I have to bring back the “Battle of Ineptitude” here. We made it through nine weeks without it needing it but I’m afraid the NFL has left me no choice. The Colts have nothing to gain and everything to lose by winning any of their remaining seven games, and have got me thinking that maybe the NFL should adopt a system similar to the NBA draft lottery so that we can avoid teams tanking games towards the end of the season. Not only is it not fair to the teams who are trying to win every week, it’s extremely unfair to the season ticketholders. I have absolutely nothing to say about the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jaguars 20, Colts 12
Denver (3-5) at Kansas City (4-4)
After seeing Kansas City failing to score a touchdown against a team that had been previously winless, it’s hard for me to think they’ll be able to compete with the Jerusalem Broncos. Speaking of which, you know what? I recant my statement from Tuesday. The Denver Broncos aren’t out of it at all in the AFC West race. Case in point: Remember a couple of years back when the Chargers were 4-8 heading into week fourteen and they swept their remaining schedule, winding up in the playoffs after all. The Broncos can do it. Don’t get me wrong, if they do they’re going to end up getting murdered but it is a possibility. 3-5 is not that far out.
Broncos 21, Chiefs 17
Washington (3-5) at Miami (1-7)
Once the team who came out of the starting gate looking great this season, the Washington Redskins stand dumbfounded and at the bottom of a tough NFC East wondering what the fuck happened. Although I realize that I’ve been harping on this for quite some time now, I don’t really believe that the Redskins ever had a true number on quarterback. I’ve been saying for a month now that neither Grossman or Beck are good enough to be better than a third stringer in the NFL. Miami did surprise me by putting up 31 points last week, but I’m not ready to give Matt Moore anymore credit than he might deserve.
Dolphins 27, Redskins 18
Arizona (2-6) at Philadelphia (3-5)
The Eagles are in real trouble. The home loss to the Bears did a lot of psychological damage as well as damage in the standings: Philly is now a game behind the Cowboys and three games behind the New York Giants. This put them in a very dark place to start the second half of their season. But this should be a game where they can make up some ground. Arizona put us through an agonizing 19-13 win over the Rams last week, stretching the game out to five excruciating quarters. Or at least they would have, had anybody been watching. No way Philadelphia blows this one.
Eagles 28, Cardinals 10
Houston (6-3) at Tampa Bay (4-4)
The Texans are a team that I like but it’s hard for me to pick them in games like this one. They have a great defense but if Freeman can get lit early it could spell trouble for Houston. This game might depend on how the Bucs can stop the Texans’ run game, which between Arian Foster and Ben Tate has been nothing short of fucking brutal this year. When Foster got hurt, I can remember saying “Wow, that Tate kid has really stepped up in his place”. Then Foster came back and they are slowly turning into a two headed monster. Don’t get me twisted, I love the Houston Texans. But whenever I pick the Bucs to lose games like this they end up winning so I have to take Tampa here. Accuracy > Hope.
Buccaneers 25, Texans 20
Tennessee (4-4) at Carolina (2-6)
My hope here would be that this is the game we’ve all been waiting for where Cam Newton burts through the wall like the Kool Aid Man after snorting a quarter ounce of speed and racks up the same type of numbers he did while he was in college. But I’ve got that “bear-trap-in-a-tennis-court” type of lucky streak, so I don’t foresee it happening. Make no mistake, Carolina is the better team here and they have lost several close games, but they still have a long way to go before coming up short every Sunday isn’t an issue. Almost all of us would rather see Newton have a great day than Hasselbeck.
Titans 33, Panthers 18
Baltimore (6-2) at Seattle (2-6)
Anybody picking this game to be an upset is doing it strictly for attention. Joe Flacco is coming off a game winning drive against Pittsburgh last week where we found out a lot about his ability to lead a football team on the road under a ton of pressure. If hadn’t have gone that 92 yards, people would have started to raise some questions about the validity of Baltimore as a contender: The loss to Jacksonville, the week to week instability, and even though Pittsburgh is a great team a loss to the Steelers coupled with blowing a chance to sweep the season series would have certainly done it. But now, they’re the belle of the ball. Seattle has been a good home team in recent years, but I find it hard to believe that Pete Carroll’s rah-rah attitude will keep him around in a division where there’s no excuse for being under .500 every year.
Ravens 27, Seahawks 6
NY Giants (6-2) at San Francisco (7-1)
This one I’m looking forward to in a big way. Expect this one to be a low scoring affair as both teams gave good defensive performances last week. I like the 49ers to have the upper hand not only because the game is at home, but because they aren’t getting a lot of the credit they deserve. This will be the nationally televised 3:15 PM game and for many fans it will be the first time they’ve seen San Francisco all year. It’s the perfect opportunity for Alex Smith to make it known to the world that the 49ers aren’t a fluke and I fully expect him to do so. Even though they played a good defensive set last week (particularly in the first half) the Giants are still having some of their standard tackling issues late in the game so if you’re a fantasy guy start Gore and assume at least 120 on the ground.
49ers 20, Giants 16
New England (5-3) at NY Jets (5-3)
In a perfect world neither of these teams would ever win anything, but I have to give the Patriots the upper hand here. Rarely do they lose two in a row, and they almost never lose three in a row so you have to assume they win here. It’s going to be a struggle because of course because the Jets are psyched after that big win in Buffalo, and they believe so much of their own hype to begin with I don’t think anybody on that team is going to bed this week. Mark Sanchez will need to step up big here and I don’t think he has it in him. (And to anyone who may be asking themselves why that is…What has he done in the past that might make me think he could do it here) Which is pretty sad, because the Pats are still ranked last against the pass. If I was Rex Ryan I’d make Sanchez throw 45 to 50 balls in this one, but we all know he won’t do that.
Patriots 17, Jets 13
Minnesota (2-6) at Green Bay (8-0)
The Vikings probably aren’t happy with the NFL’s scheduling this year, as they have to play undefeated Green Bay twice in a sixteen day span. But this won’t be like the game these two teams just played in the Metrodome, this game will be at Lambeau and the Packers won’t be fucking around. A blowout is not out of the question, as the Packers are going to beat at least one team by 45 before the season is over. I am getting a bit tired of the undefeated talk though…Everybody knows that no coach in his right mind with that level of talent is going to start any of his A guys the second they clinch home field, so why are we to believe that this year would be any different? Mike McCarthy’s a smart guy and I’m sure the minute the Packers have it in the bag their second team will be in there.
Packers 36, Vikings 10
What to watch for this weekend: Not trying to sound like a homer, but it would be awfully hard to argue that the Giants/49ers matchup wouldn’t give us the game of the week. Patriots/Jets is always pretty heated so look out for that. You might also notice that there’s a full slate of 16 games this week, but don’t get too excited: This is not the end of the bye weeks. For some reason, the dumbass who put together the schedules seemed to think it would be a fantastic idea to start the byes a week earlier this year, skip a week towards the middle of the season, only to come back with a week’s worth of byes the following Sunday. It makes perfect sense if you’ve just suffered a stroke.
Poll Question: Who is having a better year – Aaron Rodgers so far this season or Tom Brady in 2007?
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.